College Football Rankings: Updated Top 10 After Wild National Signing Day
With another wild national signing day behind us, it is time to reassess the the balance of power as the college football world begins gearing up for the 2013 season.
While the real fruits of the 2013 recruiting class will come three and four years from now, there are some serious instant-impact players in this class who will make a big impression this year.
So, I'm going to take into account the incoming players, as well as the returning ones, as I put pick out and rank the ten best teams heading into next season.
No. 10: Notre Dame
Notre Dame adds a strong recruiting class that was bolstered by the late addition of 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes to a team that returns 14 starters.
Considering the Irish are coming off of an undefeated regular season, the case can easily be made that they deserve a higher ranking than tenth.
However, this is also a team that survived many close calls and was exposed in the BCS title game. Maybe last season was a bit of a hoax for the Irish.
No. 9: Florida
The Gators add a stellar recruiting class to 11 returning starters from last season's 11-2 team.
Florida is going to be great on defense this season, but their offense remains suspect. They will try to pound games out on the ground, but as their Sugar Bowl loss to the next team in our ranking showed, that doesn't work so well when they fall behind.
No. 8: Louisville
The Cardinals have 15 returning starters, including Heisman-hopeful quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. This is a good thing for the Cardinals because they aren't going to get a lot of help from their lackluster recruiting class.
However, the Cardinals are ready to build on last year's success, which culminated in their big Sugar Bowl win, and they will face a less than elite schedule.
No. 7: Georgia
Georgia's offense is going to be fun to watch next season. As a whole, the Bulldogs are returning 13 starters, with the majority coming on offense.
They are also bringing in a strong recruiting class that features some guys on defense that will make an instant impact.
Remember, this team was one tipped pass away from being the team that destroyed Notre Dame in the national championship.
No. 6: LSU
LSU is losing a ton of talent—most notably Barkevious Mingo—but it is returning 13 starters to a solid team.
They are also bringing in plenty of new talent with a strong recruiting class.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger made some nice strides as the season progressed last year, and he will take this offense to the next level. But as always with SEC teams, the schedule is going to be tough.
No. 5: Ohio State
This time it counts for Urban Meyer and Ohio State. A year after going undefeated but not being allowed to play in a bowl, the Buckeyes return 13 starters, including Heisman-hopeful quarterback Braxton Miller.
A strong recruiting class offers Miller some nice talent at skill positions to add to the mix and it will really bolster their defense.
The Buckeyes should be able to dominate the Big Ten next year, and they have a shot to run off yet another undefeated season.
No. 4: Stanford
The Cardinal are returning 10 starters to a defense good enough to hold Oregon to 14 points last season. They return 15 starters in total.
This is great news for Stanford, because it won't be getting much instantly from a lackluster recruiting class.
They have to replace stud running back Stepfan Taylor, but the Cardinal have a strong offensive line and will still be able to pound games out on the ground.
No. 3: Texas A&M
The Aggies are returning just 10 starters, but one of them is reigning Heisman champ Johnny Manziel. The offense is going to be just fine.
Defense is another story. The Aggies are losing a host of starters, but that might not necessarily be a bad thing, since their defense was terrible last season.
Texas A&M will get a big boost on defense with its strong recruiting class, and it should be a far better overall team than last season.
No. 2: Oregon
Chip Kelly may not be returning to the Oregon Ducks next season, but 15 starters will be. The Ducks are loaded with playmakers, and the proven scheme will remain intact.
Not that they need it, but Oregon will also be adding some dynamic playmakers with this recruiting class.
I expect a huge season out of quarterback Marcus Mariota, and big things from this Ducks squad.
No. 1: Alabama
The Crimson Tide are losing a ton of talent to the NFL, but who cares? The same thing happened last year, and they still defended their national championship.
Nick Saban has this program running like a well oiled machine—a machine that was made to produce championships.
For the second straight year, the Tide landed the nation's top ranked recruiting class. They are loaded with talent at every position.